What is a database? How many types of databases?

What is a database? How many types of databases?

Meta: No one can deny that everything about technology is related to databases.  But do you know what they are and how they affect the industry? Let’s figure out!

Keyword: database


In the era of information technology, a database plays an important role in the development and success of business. So what is a database? Read on to learn more about it.

What is a database?

A database is an organized collection of data that can be accessed and managed easily. For example, computer databases refer to data records or files that contain information about every interaction with specific customers.

Users will be allowed to control access by the database manager, they can also specify report generation and analyze usage. Some databases with ACID compliance guarantee that they have consistent data and all transactions are complete.

A database is a collection of information

Databases have been around since the 1960s. Started out with hierarchical and network databases, then in the 1980s, object-oriented databases became popular. Nowadays, we are so familiar with SQL and NoSQL databases and cloud databases. So you can see that databases have changed a lot since the first day.

How many types of databases?

To make it simple, we can classify databases based on content type. That means they include full text, bibliographic, numeric and images. But there are different types of databases in computing, as they are classified based on their organizational approach. They are a relational database, a distributed database, a cloud database, a graph database and a NoSQL database.

#1: Relational database

A relational database was invented in 1970 at IBM. It is known as a tabular database in which data is defined. That means you can reorganize and access the data in many different ways.

In a relational database, information is organized into a set of tables with data that fits into a predefined category. Each column has at least one data category, and each row has a specific data for the categories which are defined in the columns. This type of database makes it easy to find relevant information through SQL.

Relational databases are organized in columns and rows

SQL (Structured Query Language) is the standard user and application program interface for this type of database. It is easy to extend a relational database, and you can add a new data category after the original database creation. You don’t need to modify all the existing applications while doing that.

#2: Distributed database

A distributed database is a database divided into portions and each portion is stored in different physical locations. Therefore, processing in the database is dispersed or replicated within different points in a network.

There are two different types of distributed databases, including homogeneous or heterogeneous. In a homogeneous distributed database system, all the physical locations have the same underlying hardware. They also run the same operating systems as well as database applications. While in the other system, the hardware, operating systems or database applications can be different at each of the locations.

#3: Cloud database

A cloud database is an optimized database that has been built for a virtualized environment. Cloud databases can be stored in a hybrid cloud, public cloud or private cloud. They have advantages compared to other types, which is the ability to pay for storage capacity and bandwidth on a per-use basis. In addition, they provide scalability on demand, and they are always available. For businesses, a cloud database gives them the opportunity to support business applications in a SaaS deployment.

#4: NoSQL database

When it comes to large sets of distributed data, we tend to think about NoSQL databases. The reason is because NoSQL databases are built to solve big data performance issues. These issues can’t be solved by relational databases. Also, they are mostly effective when an organization has to analyze large unstructured data or data stored across multiple virtual servers in the cloud.

#5: Object-oriented database

Object-oriented databases are built to store items created using object-oriented programming languages. It is organized around objects rather than actions, and data rather than logic.

#6: Graph database

A graph database is a type of NoSQL database. It uses graph theory to store, map and query relationships. Basically, it is a collection of nodes and edges, where each node refers to an entity, and each edge refers to a connection between nodes.

Graph databases are known for analyzing interconnections. It is common that companies use a graph database to get information about customers from social media.


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